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Thursday, 3 August 2017

The Journey Home by Karen M. Cox - Review

Book Cover: The Journey Home, a 1932 Sidequel by Karen M. Cox
Karen M. Cox has a new novella out which I was really excited about, as it’s connected to one of the first JAFF books I ever read, and one that I often have a sneaky re-read of! Read on to see what I thought of it.

The Journey Home’ is a ‘sidequel’ for Karen M. Cox’s ‘1932’. I’ve posted about that book previously, and you can read the review here, but in a nutshell, ‘1932’ is a ‘Pride & Prejudice’-inspired story, which transports Meryton into small-town, depression-era USA. The Bennet family are down on their luck, William Darcy is a well-to-do local farmer who takes a fancy to Miss Elizabeth Bennet. It broadly follows the story of P&P although there is one major variation from canon.

Another thing which is different is Georgiana, William’s sister. In P&P she is a 16 year old girl who has suffered a narrow escape from eloping with George Wickham, a man who was after her fortune and to avenge himself on his former friend. In ‘1932’, Georgina is at first a bit of a mystery; although going by the name of Miss Darcy, she has two young daughters. She lives with her brother and there is no husband in the picture. She is 23, rather than 16 but her soul is older than the average 23 year old. Georgiana here made some bad decisions and paid for them. She has endured physically, mentally, and her own image of herself has been humbled and brought low.
‘I could almost feel the disgrace lingering on my skin.’
She almost feels like she doesn’t deserve anything good because of the bad decisions she has made. An event happens that gives Georgiana the impetus to overcome what little pride she has and go back to her brother to recover both physically and mentally and to provide a safe haven to help her girls recover, particularly the elder, as the baby is small enough to have been unaffected.

By the time we first meet Georgiana in ‘1932’ she has recovered bodily, and is starting to come to the point where the love and support of her brother has given her the mental strength to start again. Georgiana wants to have her own life and to be a good role model for her two little girls. In the background of William and Elizabeth’s story in ‘1932’, Georgiana starts to forge her own path. This ‘sidequel’ focuses on things from Georgiana’s perspective, starting with the aftermath of the event that caused her to leave, so it begins at an earlier point than the other book. I enjoyed having a bit more of an insight into Georgiana’s mind. When I read ‘1932’ I deeply sympathised with her, as well as admiring her as a person who had hit rock bottom and managed to climb back out.

Maggie is Georgina’s elder daughter and one of the highlights of the previous book. She was an absolute sweetie and I was very glad to meet her again. I knew that when Maggie had gone to live with her ‘Unca’ she at first had been traumatised and refused to speak, and it was very touching to see the point when she first began to talk again.

William Darcy is a sweet man under his handsome yet unwelcoming shell and of course his sister gets to see under the hard shell to the sweet man that we know from ‘1932’. He is charmingly unaware that his niece has a lot in common with him:
‘He shook his head. “I wish she’d quit staring at me like that. It’s unnerving.” 
I laughed through my tears, softly, so as not to frighten the toddler in my lap. “I don’t know why it bothers you. She looks just like you do half the time.” Maggie’s dark-eyed stare was the little-girl version of William’s curmudgeonly scowl.’ 
Sheriff Richard Fitzwilliam is Darcy’s closest friend, there for him during his lonely time during Georgiana’s absence. He is such a lovely character and surprisingly wise. I liked him a lot in ‘1932’ for his kindness so it was good to see more of him.
‘Richard looked at me with kindness but not with pity. He addressed me, rather than my brother, and I could see how William would be able to tell him private information without a second thought. His expression was open and accepting, without a hint of disapproval.’
There is a hint of Christianity in this book. Georgiana’s faith in God is something that didn’t falter even at her lowest point and it helped form her decision to come home. As I said, though, this is a hint rather than a theme, it’s a very small part of the story. Although there is some sex in the story there are no overt sex scenes.

I very much enjoyed reading this book but I felt that I would have liked to have had a bit more exploration of some things, such as Georgiana’s time away from home, or the visits she received after moving to her cottage in a little more depth. There are some instances where things happen off the page which sometimes made the pace feel a little rushed to me. However, this book adds a further dimension to ‘1932’ which I really enjoyed. I would certainly recommend reading ‘1932’ first to get the full benefit, as you will get to know Lizzy and William better that way and fill in the gaps with ‘The Journey Home’. I’d rate this as a 4 star read.

4 star read

*I received a copy of this novella from the author for my honest review.

Author Karen M. Cox
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10 comments:

  1. Glad you liked it and I liked the quotes you chose! Thanks for sharing your review!!

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    1. Thanks Christina. I try to pick quotes which give a flavour, so I am glad you thought they were good ones :)

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  2. Thank you, Ceri, for your kind and thoughtful review of "The Journey Home" :) So happy you enjoyed the novella!

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    1. I really did, Karen, thank you! I felt very sorry for Georgiana when I read 1932, because she had such bad luck in how her choices turned out. William is a wonderful brother to her, which of course helps the reader see that softer side of him. I was so pleased when she got a happy ending and so it was good to see her side of things more fully.

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  3. Loved 1932 when I read it for the first time this year. Looking forward to reading this one too!

    Thanks for the review Ceri.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed 1932 too, Anji. I am sure you will enjoy reading this one too :)

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  4. I just started reading this one and it's so fun to have Georgiana's POV after reading 1932. Love it!

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    1. It's so good to have a glimpse into Georgiana's thoughts, isn't it Jen.

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  5. Ceri,

    I'd forgotten about Maggie and her calling Darcy 'Unca'!
    This sounds like a delightful story and I'm glad you enjoyed it.
    I think I might have to go back and re-read '1932' again!
    Cheers for your lovely review!

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    1. Thanks Mary! One of the things I enjoyed about 1932 was Maggie's relationship with 'Unca' so I was pleased to see more of that. I would always recommend a re-read of 1932, because it's a favourite of mine :)

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